Snacks 101

I’ve recently been a little (ok, a lot) irritated by the marketing of so-called “healthy” snacks. There is an incredible amount of information available about food choices and what you should eat, but most of it is straight-up propaganda just to sell a product. I’ve had several discussions with some very confused people about what they considered a healthy snack. The following are a few of the popular choices considered healthy, that really are not:

  1. Yogurt. Oh I know about the probiotics and protein certain companies push as healthy. However, they fail to mention the probiotic strain is usually only a single strain. This is a common strain, lactobacillus, found in most yogurt. If you eat a lot of this strain you could eventually develop an overgrowth. Why is this bad? Its bad because it “kills” off the other strains you need for your gut to function properly. You could develop gut dysbiosis. Gut dysbiosis manifests itself commonly as digestive symptoms, including (but not limited to) gas, bloating, heartburn /GERD, constipation, diarrhea, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and IBD (Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, among others). If that wasn’t enough check out the sugar content. Certain flavors of Dannon, Stoneyfield and Yoplait have 18 grams or more of sugar.
  2. Died Fruit. Yes its fruit. I am not a huge fruit fan simply because of the amount of sugar. But if its calories your worried about, dried fruit has 3 times the amount of calories as its fresh counter part!
  3. Reduced fat anything. Why would you take the fat out of something and add a chemical? First of all, the fat is what will satiate you longer. Fat is a good thing if its a healthy fat. Bacon, coconut oil, avocado….eat up! (That’s another discussion though). Reduced fat peanut butter is a go-to for some people. Here is what is in a jar of Jiff reduced fat:PEANUTS, CORN SYRUP SOLIDS, SUGAR, PEA PROTEIN, CONTAINS 2% OR LESS OF: SALT, FULLY HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OILS (RAPESEED AND SOYBEAN), MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, MOLASSES, MAGNESIUM OXIDE, NIACINAMIDE, FERRIC ORTHOPHOSPHATE, ZINC OXIDE, COPPER SULFATE, FOLIC ACID, PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE. Seriously-this is not peanut butter…..
  4. Trail mix and granola. These aren’t the worst, but rarely does someone eat either of these without the added chocolate pieces, candied nuts or dried fruit (see above). Again, the calorie content in 1 cup is approximately 300-500 calories, which are mostly sugar. Your body burns through sugar faster than protein and fat. Hence, you will be hungry 30 minutes later…..

The next time you are overwhelmed with “healthy snack” advertisements and commercials stop and think, why are they pushing these things as healthy so desperately? Do some research, read the ingredients, and step away from the 100 calorie packs-of-crap!

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